IEC Foundation Community Service Project to Unite Veteran with New Service Dog

Pictured, left to right, at SPARK 2023 in Dallas: Jenn Dozier, IEC Foundation; Denise Sims, IEC Foundation; Mike Danielson and Santa Paws; Sylee Gibson, Guardian Angels; LaNa Al-Amin, IEC Foundation; Lucy Barnes, Guardian Angels. 

By IEC Staff 

IEC Nation – you did it again! 

With the leadership of the IEC Foundation, your participation and generosity in the IEC Partner Community Service Project resulted in the purchase of a yet-to-be-born service dog for a United States veteran. IEC supporters donated $35,360 and have named their dog, Sparky. Sparky will be trained by the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs organization and awarded to a veteran in need. 

“Over the past three years, IEC Foundation has been intentional about supporting the communities we serve,” says Tom Alexander, Atkins & Stang and IEC Foundation chairman. “The Strategic Partner Community Service Project undertaken at each year’s SPARK aligns with our mission and core values.”  

For SPARK 2023, the Foundation teamed with the Guardian Angels organization. Through their incredible dogs, they make a difference in the lives of those struggling with a variety of service-related issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, mobility issues, and more. Guardian Angels Chief Administrative Office Sylee Gibson attended SPARK to tell the organization’s story. 

“We raise and train highly skilled medical service dogs that are then donated to veterans and first responders,” Sylee says. “They receive their dogs for free. Our dogs help with PTSD, mobility, scent detection for diabetes, and seizure alerts.” 

Celebrating breaking ground for a new Guardian Angels service dog training facility in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pictured, left to right: Sylee Gibson, Guardian Angels; Jared Dziak, Independent Mechanical; LaNa Al-Amin, IEC Foundation; Mary Jo Brandt, Guardian Angels; De {nise Sims, IEC Foundation; Frank Monacelli, Independent Mechanical.

Sylee says the Guardian Angles has been in operation for 13 years and has paired more than 400 dog teams. In addition to the named medical issues, she says supportive dogs make a difference with related veteran and family issues. In fact, within those 400 teams, they’ve had zero suicides notes Sylee. 

Service dog recipient Mike Danielson was present in Dallas to tell how being partnered with his dog changed his life. Mike spoke of his struggle with PTSD, as well as his thoughts of suicide. His dog, Santa Paws, changed that for him and his family. 

“My dog is with me almost 100% of the time,” Mike says. “I’ve been apart from him about three hours since I had him and that’s because I had cataract surgery.” 

Mike says Santa Paws provides him with comfort and support, which extends to his wife and children as well. Santa Paws knows if they’re having a rough time and is sure to offer care to them. 

Additionally, the IEC Foundation staff team, along with Pennsylvania electrical contractors, were present when the Guardian Angels broke ground for a new service dog training facility in southwest Pennsylvania. Foundation Executive Director LaNa Al-Amin expects to partner with the Guardian Angels on future projects. 

“Through our staff service in Rotary International, we were introduced to the staff of Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs,” LaNa says. “Meeting them and service dog recipient Mike Danielson was a life changing experience for all of us.”  

Tom is especially grateful for the leadership of IEC Foundation staff members LaNa, Jenn Strozier, and Denise Sims; Strategic Partner Chair Scott Teson of Milwaukee Tool; and Troy Corrigan, IEC past president from Corrigan Electric. 

“The support of all made this community service project a complete success,” Tom says. “We look forward to continuing this partnership and we are proud of the investment we were able to make with the IEC community to help change and save lives of those in need. We look forward to meeting Sparky and his veteran partner in the future!”  


Thank You to Our Donors! 

Donations to purchase Sparky were received from: 

Marilyn Akers-Stansbury 

LaNa Al-Amin 

Tom Alexander 

Greg Anzlovar 

Renea Beasley 

Richard Bird 

Candy Branham 

Michael Bridges 

Phil Burmeister 

Lee Clouser 

Troy Corrigan 

Daniel Denier 

Jared DeRuby 

Charlie Fischer 

Jill Flint 

Annette Gauna 

Gary Golka 

Mark Henderson 

Cara Herbstritt 

Kori Hemans 

Billy Ross Hill 

Matthew Hittinger 

Joy Hughes 

Steve Humphrey Jr. 

Robbie Jones 

Jeff Kirstein 

Bruce Kohan 

Dean Kredit 

Bob Leary 

Cecil Leedy 

Bethany Lerch 

Alex Lopez 

Justin Martin 

Frank Monacelli 

Ernest Mora 

Cat Niles 

Erik Odden 

Rusty Page 

Lloyd Quinney 

Cindy Regier 

Gentry Roberts 

Lou Schuler 

David Scott 

Donald Sharkey 

Denise Sims 

Fred Stang 

Erin Stewart 

Bob Terry 

Scott Teson 

Barbara Tipton 

Keely Turner 

Raul Vasquez 

Tim White 

Nicole Wickenheisser 

Sonepar USA 

Tutor Electric 

IEC National 

IEC of Utah 

IEC Pennsylvania 

IEC Rocky Mountain 

IEC San Antonio 

IEC Southern Colorado 

Three anonymous donors